The public seems to have a greater sense of public spending crisis than the government. Many voters are apprehensive about the rapid build up of debts, and understand that we and our children will have to repay them in due course. This makes it more difficult to gain and hold support for expensive policies.
The public would like the UK to do less by way of military intervention abroad for a bit, whilst we are sorting out our finances. It would be a popular move to accelerate our departure from Afghanistan. There is no great appetite to get dragged into another war , this time in Mali. There is also a fear of more members of our armed services losing their lives in difficult places, where their own actions have to be curtailed or constrained to avoid harming the local civilian population.
It is good news that the government has ruled out sending in troops to fight, but there are worries about mission creep and questions about how much spare money and military resource we have to commit to yet another difficult civil war so far away from home.